Summary: Nothing can happen to you apart from God’s will – he’s in control, not Satan.
Have you ever met a really big person? I don’t mean someone who is just taller than you – but someone that is really really tall.
I remember once meeting Terry Porter. You know – the guy that used to play for the Portland Trailblazers? On TV, Terry always looked pretty small. I was assigned to cover a story for Portland television at a downtown Nike store. Terry was going to be there and I just assumed that at six foot one, I’d match up pretty well. No chance.
Terry walked up to me to shake my hand, and I’m straining my neck to look up at him.
Robert Waldow is said to be the tallest man in history at 8’11". Waldo died in 1940 – his casket weighed 1,000 pounds and had to be carried by 12 pall bearers.
Svend Karlsen won the title as world’s strongest man in 2001. Svend, from Norway, had to compete in things like the Super Yoke, The Viking Press, and the Keg Circle. Basically you have to pull monster pickups and stuff like that.
My point is this – these guys, tall, athletic, strong – impressive – are 98 pound weaklings compared to Lucifer. Satan is strong, and downright terrifying. Going up against him single-handedly and you’re doomed – and his demons are nothing to sneeze at either. Just read "This Present Darkness" to get an idea.
There’s only one guy who’s not intimidated and cowed by Lucifer – Jesus Christ. But as powerful as He is – and we’ll see him describe it today – He is also the gentlest person you will ever meet. It’s this kind of dichotomy that makes knowing Jesus both a wonder and a challenge.
We pick up our story as Jesus has just healed a man in front of the Pharisees on the Sabbath – tweaking their beaks and proclaiming that He is Lord of the Sabbath. The Pharisees, as you can imagine, are livid. At that point they try to figure out a way to kill Jesus.
15 Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick,
12:15 Jesus did withdraw out of fear, but out of timing. He had already confronted the Pharisees on many occasions – but to continue to taunt them would have meant moving His timetable up. But there was still plenty to do.
16 warning them not to tell who he was. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
18 "Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
19 He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he leads justice to victory.
21 In his name the nations will put their hope."
:16 Jesus didn’t want people coming to Him for the wrong reasons – physical healing, instead of as the Messiah. What reason do you come to Jesus? Is it to get stuff from Him, or to give yourself to Him?
Don’t have false hopes – Jesus is NOT going to make your life a bed of roses. He’s not going to answer every prayer in the way you envision. He is not going to make you healthy wealthy and wise – well, maybe He will make you wise – but wisdom of knowing Him, not wisdom in a worldly sense.
:19 He will not quarrel or cry out
Jesus will not be silent – He will proclaim justice – but He will not publicize or call attention to Himself.
Bruised reed … smoldering wick
Another indication of Jesus’ character. Fragile lives, lives that seem to sputter, as if they are about to go out all together (like a linen cloth with only a little oil on it). Jesus will not break them – will not snuff them out. Do you feel that your life is fragile? Do you feel so weak and tired and troubled that you are afraid that putting your life into the hands of the Almighty God will be just too much for you? He is so gentle with your life that He takes your biggest weaknesses into account – and will not hurt you.
Also – if you feel run over by the world – like your reed is broken and your wick put out by the meanness around you – know that Jesus will one day bring justice – victory to you over your enemies.
Are you a little guy? Not a PhD, not a millionaire, not a powerful politician – you just go to work and brings your lunch. God cares for you. God loves you. God goes out of His way to provide for you. Not in knowledge, or money, or power – but in love, and joy, and hope. Remember: "I am gentle and humble at heart," He said.